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Wow, it's great to see so many people interested in applied category theory! I'm delighted to "meet" all 250+ of you!
More than a decade ago, I was a PhD student of John Baez, which meant a lot of time thinking about categories as a grad student, even if my thesis research wasn't mostly on category theory. Over the years, my research has directly involved categories here and there, but the larger impact for me has been how category theory influences my thinking, even on projects that don't explicitly involve categories. Knowing category theory helps a lot with "big-picture" thinking!
Right now I'm in the midst of a big career shift: after years of research mostly in mathematical physics, I am now getting back to thinking about computation: especially artificial intelligence and quantum computation. These are fairly new direction for me, but there's also interesting overlap with mathematics I've worked on before, and I'm really excited about that. While I've thought a lot about category theory applied in physics and topology, my current interests are leading me much more toward "applied category theory" in the sense of this course.
I'm happy John is teaching this course! It reminds me of the good old days in John's seminar at UCR, but with a lot more participants. I'm excited to see what comes out of it.